Kendrapara, Oct 13 (LocalWire): The Odisha State Disaster Mitigation Authority (OSDMA) along with the district administration and other government and non-government agencies conducted a mock tsunami drill on Tuesday in all the 328 tsunami prone coastal villages of the six coastal districts of Odisha to create awareness among the public on tsunami.
“The Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (IOTWS) of Hyderabad sent us a mock tsunami warning message at 9.30 AM on Tuesday and we immediately alerted all the coastal districts through email, SMS and phone thrice at 9.30, 9.45 and 10 AM.
After getting the messages from us, the district administrations of all the coastal districts also alerted all the 328 Tsunami prone villages BDOs, Tahsildars, Indian Navy, Coast Guard, fishery officials, port officials, fishermen, locals, Panchayat body members, NGOs, social workers and others.
Due to COVID-19, we did not organize mock rescue operations in the tsunami prone villages but communicated the same to them,” said Bholanath Mishra, the General Manager of Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA).
“The mock drill increased preparedness, evaluated response capabilities and improved coordination among all the government and non-government agencies,” added Mishra.
The government built 122 Early Warning Dissemination System (EWDS) towers three years ago, at the seaside villages of the state to provide cyclone and tsunami warning to the villagers of the coastal pockets.
All the towers have been fitted with sirens and all the sirens went off simultaneously from all the towers on Tuesday during the mock drill.
The sound from the towers could be heard in localities up to a radius of 1.5 km. EWD towers will also enable authorities to alert people in smaller pockets, depending on the severity of the disaster, added Mishra.
“11 years ago, OSDMA had identified 328 villages situated within 1.5 km of the coastline in six coastal districts.
64 sea-side villages of Kendrapada district, 28 coastal villages of Jagatsinghpur district, 88 villages of Puri and 44 villages of Ganjam district were identified as prone to tsunami.
Similarly 63 villages of Balasore district were also identified as tsunami-prone, 41 villages in neighbouring Bhadrak district were enlisted as vulnerable to tsunami within 1.5 kilometers from the sea.
We have earlier trained the coastal communities how to react when tsunami warnings are issued,” added Mishra.
The mock drill aims to evaluate the system’s operational capacity, the efficiency of communications among the different concerned actors, added the official.
It may be recalled that India, along with 20 Indian Ocean nations participated in a major Indian Ocean-wide mock tsunami drill on October 12, 2011 aimed at testing the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (IOTWS).